Elevating a beehive off the ground can be helpful in several ways.
1. It stops the beehive floor from coming in contact with the damp ground. This will prolong the structural life of your hive and cut down on mold and fungi issues.
2. Elevating can also help prevent some predators from attacking your hive. This stand elevates several hives 18 inches off the ground. I read in an old log cabin building book that if you build a structure 18 inches off the ground, that crawling insects are less likely to reach the structure. 18 inches also seems to be the magic number to detour skunks.
3. Having the bees a little higher is also convenient for checks as far as humans are concerned. (But don’t go too high or you’ll be lifting top boxes over your head.)
4. It allows the bees easy access to their hive entrance. We used to have our hives on cinder blocks, but the blocks were just a little too small and the weeds and grass quickly covered the short 6 inch blocks. We were constantly clearing vegetation away from the hive entrance and it often irritated incoming bees that we were blocking their entrance.
This stand also has only two legs which means less contact with the ground. It can be made from recycled materials and can be painted to last longer.
Zach and I heat our farmhouse through the winter with wood only. Lucky for us, Zach works at a company that gets steel delivered on large pallets made of untreated hard wood.
The pallets are not only useful to heat our home, but we’ve made many projects out of the quality lumber. Like this beehive stand.
3 – 10 foot 4×4 boards
table saw or cross cut hand saw
post hole digger
long, weather proof screws
We began by removing any nails from the wood and selected 4 relatively straight pieces. If you don’t have access to recycled pallets, store bought 4×4’s would work just as well. These boards measured 3 3/8 ”
Cut two 18″ long pieces, two 42″ pieces and two 10′ pieces. (our 4x4s were already cut to 10′ so we just left them this length)
To make the half lap joints on the 18″ cross supports and the 42″ uprights, set your table fence 3-3/8″ away from your blade. Set your table saw depth to half of the width of the 4×4. we set ours to 1-11/16″. Cut both sides of the 18″ boards, but only one side of each 42″ board. To remove the excess wood, make several cuts with the table saw.
Till you span the width of the joint.
Chisel out the slots.
Use the chisel to clean up the joint.
Keep checking the fit.
Next cut a 3-3/8″ wide joint 1-11/16″ deep 90 degrees to the other joints on the two 18″ boards. Put these right in the middle of the boards as shown here.
Make two more 3-3/8″ wide 1-11/16″ deep cuts on each of the 10′ long boards. These should be placed approximately 2′ from each end on the same side.
You can see here that these are a tight fit. Some light blows with a mallet and these will fit together nicely.
Use a mallet to lock the pieces together.
And reenforce with screws. We put two on each side.
All the joints together.
This view, the stand is sitting upside down.
Then Zach carried it out to the bee hive area. (Trusty dog Oliver, leading the way.)
When we got out to our hive, Zach dug two 24 inch holes with the post hole digger. Oliver watched over production.
We leveled the length of the stand. Adding or subtracting dirt from each post hole.
And then we tilted a few degrees forward, so the entrance of the bee hive dips down slightly. This prevents rain from flowing back into the hive.
Then we packed dirt around the holes. Our soil has a lot of clay in it. You could add cement to make it a permanent structure. But we wanted the option to move it.
And it’s all set for our bees due in this week.
We have another hive that is ready to carry out that will sit next to this one.